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In the summer of 2008, Flavio Briatore was principal of the Renault F1 team. During a break from racing, he was in Sardinia on a yacht with a number of other people. They took dinghies from the yacht to a beach. As they were arriving, locals started to hurl wet sand at them and to hurl abuse. "Louts, go home" was one of the more repeatable cries. The locals later explained that they had taken exception to "the arrogant ostentation of the super-rich". "These people think they rule the world."

At that time, fifteen years ago, there wasn't any obvious evidence of anti-tourism sentiment in Mallorca. It existed, but not its public manifestation. The Briatore incident made me wonder if something similar could happen in Mallorca. One did wonder precisely because of an absence of protest.

Some years later, there was to be protest, the summer of 2017 coming to be most clearly associated with this. In July of that year, the radical youth group Arran let off flares and threw confetti by a restaurant on Palma's Moll Vell.

The summer before, there hadn't been protest but there had been great indignation when, rather akin to Briatore and his yacht dinghies, the occupants of two hired superyachts turned up on a Cabrera beach, took it over and "privatised" it. A Russian oligarch and friends had meantime occupied Mallorcan beach space and deployed security to keep the public away.

The anti-tourism protests that occurred in Mallorca a few years ago had a degree of coordination in that they mainly involved agitators like Arran, who also had a political agenda due to close links with Catalan independence groups. There was some public sympathy, but this was well outweighed by a view that Arran and others were wishing to bite off the hand that fed them. They were youthful idiots directing their ire at the main economic sector.

Those protests were against tourism and tourists in general. But, and perhaps with hindsight, the action on the Moll Vell was more targeted. From the pier, the smoke from the flares floated across yachts as well as into the restaurant. Arran were in fact to specifically identify a "tourism of the elite", but that message was to be rather lost amidst a wave of protest that was broad in nature.

Just Stop Oil in the UK and Letzte Generation (Last Generation) in Germany aren't youth movements of climate change activists. Their protests aren't specific to tourism, but tourism can be affected, as with the disruption to Düsseldorf and Hamburg flights last week. They share a protest space with the likes of Extinction Rebellion, who also attract people of various ages but are perceived to be essentially youthful. Letzte Generation vandalised a private jet in Berlin in May. A jet on the island of Sylt, increasingly a destination for the wealthy, was sprayed orange in June. Extinction Rebellion targeted a private jet in Ibiza last week before moving on to a club and a superyacht.

So there is a tourism theme, one certainly highlighted in Ibiza, and it is a theme, above all, that has centred on a wealthy and privileged minority - a small privileged class, as Extinction Rebellion have stated. It's as though Sardinia in 2008, Cabrera in 2016, the Moll Vell in 2017 are all being revisited but through a different lens of protest - that of climate change but allied to a class of society that is alien to the overwhelming majority. It is a different type of protest because the target is far more identifiable. It is also a greatly more destructive type of protest, for which, therefore, there is widespread condemnation. At the same time, however, might there be a greater underlying sympathy, if not for the methods but for the messages, than when tourists in general were being targeted?

"Louts, go home." "These people think they rule the world." It was ordinary folk in Sardinia who hurled the wet sand.

Jaume Bauzà, the new tourism minister.

The ministerial downgrading of tourism

Further to what I suggested in this column last week - that the appointment of Jaume Bauzà as tourism minister is an essentially political one - there has been general comment to support this view. Moreover, it is being said that the status of tourism (ministerially) has been downgraded somewhat in the new government.

This observation arises from the fact that the combination of Bauzà's portfolios - sport and culture are the other two - do not have the weight that was the case with Iago Negueruela (employment and the economic model). That combination, it is now being argued, resulted in some intimidation of hoteliers - agree to things or there will be more employment inspections.

I find this somewhat hard to believe. If hoteliers were genuinely concerned about inspections, then they must have been doing something wrong. And are we to conclude that by altering the combination of portfolios, there is going to be a softening of inspections? I also find that hard to believe.

The new combination, which does make sense, is meant as a way of enhancing low-season tourism through sport and culture. As to a lesser role in government, this may be so, but it also reflects the fact that the Council of Mallorca has taken on many of what were the tourism ministry's responsibilities.